Gananoque Museum preserving history digitally

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By: Jessica Munro, reporter at the Local Journalism Initiative

The Thousand Islands History Museum has announced the start of work on the Gananoque archival collection project.

The current goal of the project is to make digital copies of the city’s history, including photographs and other archival material, in the hope that by digitizing the collection it will make it more accessible to the public. public.

“And also to preserve it for future generations so that there is a copy in case something happens to the physical medium,” said Zane Smith, civic collection coordinator at the 1000 Islands History Museum.

The Gananoque Museum received a grant under Library and Archives Canada’s Documentary Heritage Communities Program to create digital copies of the archival collection, such as documents and photographic material, to help preserve it for future generations and make it more accessible for the present.

Smith explained that they would keep pretty much all of the museum’s archival material, but this year the project is focusing on 2D material like photographs, postcards, letters, and official documents, rather than multi-page books or documents. current stage.

“This project is really important because there is a lot of archival material in the Gananoque Civic Collection and it hasn’t received a lot of attention in the past,” Smith said.

“Over the past few years we have improved preservation standards, but this project has really helped us take a leap forward in preserving this documentary of heritage and history for future generations, which is the primary function of museums, ”he added.

The project started at the beginning of April but the museum has just started the digitization work.

“The start-up phase of the project was to acquire all the necessary hardware,” said Smith, who explained that they did not have the appropriate scanners or computers in the storage facility to begin the process until recently. .

The first months of the project were devoted to the physical preservation of some of the archival documents and their proper storage.

“Now we move on to the digitization aspect of the project,” Smith said.

In just a few weeks, the museum has already digitized nearly 200 pieces from the archival collection and is close to completing the project by the end of next March.

Once the city’s history is preserved in digital copies, it will be used in different functions of the museum, including public programming and exhibits.

With the project still relatively new, the museum is uncertain whether the archived collection will be publicly available on a website this year, but the end goal over the next two years is to make the collection accessible online in certain ways, to make it easier for the public to get involved in the history of the city.

“Rather than having all of these archival items in storage and never seeing the light of day,” Smith said.


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